Targeted therapy is a form of cancer treatment which targets specific proteins in cancer cells or signaling enzymes to control its growth and spread. The basis of targeted therapy stems from uncontrolled cell growth due to reasons such as gene or protein mutations which cause cell replication beyond normal function. Therefore, by blocking these growth signals or disrupting cancer cell function by directing toxins into the cell, cancer cells are inhibited from reproducing or have induced cell death.
Through targeting cancer cells specifically, it is hoped that normal cells will be spared from the toxic side effects of the treatment. As targeted therapy acts on the molecular level of cells, adequate precision is required to determine the cell targets and it may vary between two people with the same cancer. Targeted therapy is often used as an adjunct to chemotherapy as it stops new cancer cells from forming while chemotherapy kills the existing cancer cells. It is also commonly used in combination with other treatments such as radiation therapy, hormone therapy and surgery.
Your doctor will need to perform extensive investigations including blood tests, scans and biopsies depending on the type and stage of cancer to find out if targeted therapy is suitable for you. It is also dependent on the type and stage of cancer. Please consult your doctor to know more about targeted therapy and to address any concerns you may have.